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Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Turn a Hobby Into a Business

Mo's started out in this working fishing port as a hang out for fishermen.  The founder loved serving up chowder and even feed people who couldn't pay.

Key Question:


Growth must be planned. It will never just happen. Mo was happy and successful in operating one restaurant. Cindy was hungry for more. Growth must be supported by the infrastructure of the business. We all hate overhead but we must admit that there is a certain level of support that a business requires and that level increases as the volume of business revenues increase. We make increasing investments in technology, facilities, and support personnel such as chief financial officers and marketing directors. And these investments need to be made before they are “required” because they are necessary to support the growth. This is really tough, making the investment without the revenue stream to support it. But the point is we’ll never get to that level of revenue without that investment! Debbi Fields is another example of a business owner who has turned a hobby into a multi-million dollar enterprise. Debbi Fields opened Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery in Palo Alto in August 1977. Today Mrs. Fields has over 650 domestic locations and over 65 international locations in 11 different countries. You can’t operate a business of that size and complexity without adequate systems, processes, and supporting personnel.

Think about it

How big do you want to be? There's nothing wrong with Mo's approach or Cindy's. There is no right answer. But if you are interested in growing your business, you have to plan for that growth and you have to invest in your business to support it.

Clip from: Mos Chowder

Newport, Oregon: Cindy McEntee came to our attention because she was the state of Oregon's Small Business Person of the Year. Then, when we looked further, we found many more awards and citations. To be selected as the study for a show, a business must come up on everyone's list as being " ... loved by their community and respected within their industry."

In this episode of the show, we continue our walk down the Main Streets of America to see how one person with a vision has transformed the town where she was born and where she has chosen to stay. Life here is so rich with the intangibles that even her children have returned to this little seaport town and are helping to build the business and family legacy.

From a little joint on a narrow little street to the big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, we discover how a fisherman's hangout becomes a national treasure.

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Mo's Chowder

Mo's Chowder, A family

622 SW Bay Blvd.
Newport, OR 97365

Visit our web site:

Office: 541-265-2979

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1951

Turn a Hobby Into a Business

HATTIE: Mo's is a national treasure. It's like a landmark or a state park or a shrine. People drive for miles to eat there. Some even told us they had flown in to eat at Mo's. Of course it's the food. Every restaurant owner will tell you their staying power rests on the quality of the food. Good service can not make up for poor ingredients or stale bread or wilted lettuce.

But, it is more than chowder.

Now it is a story to tell. Cindy loved her grandmother and what she stood for and Cindy says she is the caretaker of a legacy. Okay. But Cindy has been part of this story for 40 of the 50 years. And, Cindy knows that these stories about her grandmother capture a bigger truth.

We all want to be outrageous; we all want to be givers; we all want to embrace the world in all its fullness.

These stories about grandmother will always abide. But with grandmother alone, the business was barely profitable. Let's analyze what's going on. When Cindy was 21 years old she asked her grandmother if she knew how much they were paying for clams. Mo said she didn't know. At that point Cindy began installing accounting and food preparation systems.

Mo's never made much profit before Cindy started her sharp pencil techniques. At the same time Cindy was working to improve the internal processes she was also telling stories ... stories about how Mo gave plenty of fishermen food even when they couldn't pay and about how the lady who drove her car right into the restaurant, stayed to eat.

The storytelling builds the legacy. Story telling makes us bigger than life. Try it yourself. Formulate your stories, publish them on your web site, make them part of your marketing efforts. Do this and 30 years from now, you will be the caretaker of a legacy.

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